Major businesses call for implementation of the EU Nature Restoration law

More than 100 major businesses including Unilever, Danone and Ikea have urged European policymakers to approve a law that would create a legally-binding biodiversity target for Member States.

Major businesses call for implementation of the EU Nature Restoration law

The ENVI committee vote takes place on 29 November

The major businesses have convened through the Corporate Leaders Group Europe (CLG Europe) to throw their weight behind the EU’s Nature Restoration law.

The businesses claim that 60% of companies listed on the Euronext stock exchange have a “high or moderate” dependency on nature, which places €3.26trn of market value at risk if nature restoration is not championed at a policy level.

The EU’s Nature Restoration law was first tabled in June 2022. If adopted, it will mark the first time that the bloc has legally-binding targets to reverse biodiversity loss.  The law proposes that restoration measures are to be implemented on at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030 and repair all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050.

The ENVI committee vote takes place on 29 November next week and the plenary vote follows, currently slated for the new year.

The law has faced major opposition from EU member states that are highly economically dependent on farming, including Ireland. There are worries about whether restoring nature at scale will encroach on farmland or land currently used for other means. Some other countries have also expressed concerns about the administrative burden of delivering and monitoring nature restoration schemes.

Commenting on the impending vote, Bart Vandewaetere, VP ESG Engagement for Europe at Nestle said:  “When nature is under pressure, the food system feels the impact. That’s why Nestlé continues to stand by the Nature Restoration Law and its focus on helping regenerate natural resources, increasing biodiversity and restoring water cycles in Europe by supporting farmers and their livelihoods.

“We encourage MEPs to support this important piece of legislation.”

Business benefits

Research from CLG Europe found that nature restoration for businesses can result in €1.8bn worth of benefits.

One of the report’s key points underscores the imperative need for the EU to secure the necessary levels of investment to drive nature restoration forward.

This involves funding to ensure a consistent supply of goods, such as business programs that encourage sustainable farming practices, or opportunities for businesses to invest in nature restoration as part of broader initiatives to achieve carbon neutrality.

Additionally, research from the ECV warned that more than 70% of European companies are “highly dependent” on at least one form of natural capital.

It is the latest in a series of ongoing calls from businesses to revamp the beleaguered policy package.

Earlier this year, two statements were sent to EU policymakers on behalf of more than 100 major businesses, including Unilever, H&M and Nestlé. The businesses stated that “action at the scale and speed necessary can only take place if supported by ambitious environmental policies and regulations that transform our economic, fiscal, and legislative systems”.

In the UK, some 60 nature organisations have called for the Government to intervene to protect and restore habitats, after a comprehensive wildlife analysis recently concluded that one in six species is at risk of extinction.

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